Just 1-5 this season, the Weber State football team hasn’t had much to celebrate, but head coach Jody Sears did call former Allan Hancock College standout and Templeton High product Chris Wheeler one of the bright spots for the Wildcats.
“He plays extremely hard,” Sears said. “He’s got a good nose for the football. The closer he is to the line of scrimmage, the more plays he makes. He has great instincts and has a huge passion for the game.
The senior safety ranks second on the team with 42 tackles, including 16 solo stops. And unlike the typical drop-back safety, Wheeler ranks fourth on the team with three tackles for loss in addition to a team-leading three quarterback hurries.
He had 16 tackles while starting all 11 games last season, including six tackles in a 45-23 loss to Cal Poly last October.
Wheeler was also a tackle machine for the Bulldogs in Santa Maria.
A two-time all-conference second-team selection twice named Hancock defensive back of the year, Wheeler totaled 150 career tackles at the junior college level.
In his sophomore season with the Bulldogs in 2011, he had 70 tackles and a team-high six interceptions, which ranked fifth in the state.
He also had a team-high four picks in 2010.
This came after a standout three-sport career at Templeton.
As a senior for the Eagles, Wheeler was a two-way threat, leading the team with 504 rushing yards and three touchdowns and ranking second with 23 catches for 208 yards and a 25-yard touchdown.
On defense, he was Templeton’s fourth-leading tackler with 96 stops.
Cal Poly coaches lightly recruited Wheeler coming out of high school, but rather than walking on with the Mustangs, he went to Hancock and earned a scholarship elsewhere.
“He’s been really consistent,” Sears said, “and he brings a ton of energy and passion to our defense. I’m glad he’s on our team.”